BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Friday appointed former high court judge, Justice HS Kempanna, as the Claims Commissioner to assess the damage to private and public properties by rioters, investigate liability and award compensation to victims in connection with the violence that occurred in DJ Halli and KG Halli police limits on the night of August 11.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi passed the order appointing Justice Kempanna, after hearing the arguments of Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi on the state’s plea seeking to initiate suo motu action in terms of the Supreme Court order of 2009 over recovery of damages from rioters for destruction of public and private properties.
The State Government had filed the petition before the High Court based on an appeal made by Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant in view of the huge destruction of private and public properties in the violence.
DJ HALLI RIOTS: K’TAKA HC ASKS PEOPLE TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE OF DAMAGE
“We propose to appoint Justice Kempanna as Claims Commissioner in terms of the Apex Court order. Consequential orders will have to be issued to ensure that the Claims Commissioner can discharge his duties properly...The liability should be borne by the actual perpetrators of the crime and finally determined by this court after hearing the parties, on receiving the report from the Commissioner”, the bench said. It also directed the State Government to issue notification appointing Justice Kempanna within a week after the order is uploaded on the high court website.
The government was also directed to give wide publicity about the appointment of the claims commissioner and also calling upon people whose properties are damaged to enable them to submit details for damage assessment. The notice should be published inviting video clippings, photographs or any other material relating to the incident from the public. The police machinery and government should also submit similar details, if any, to the Claims Commissioner, the bench said.
Considering the situation due to Covid-19, the bench permitted the commissioner to conduct proceedings through video-conference. This apart, the bench issued several directions to the government on providing required staff, infrastructure, vehicles, fixing of remuneration and other monetary benefits to the commissioner. In the event of summons to be issued or any further directions are needed, the commissioner can submit a report before the Registrar (Judicial), the bench said, adding that the government has to appoint assessors with the consent of the commissioner.
3 cases under UAPA
The Advocate-General informed the court that they have invoked the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in three of the 70 FIRs registered.
State to file objections on plea seeking probe by NIA
On a PIL seeking directions to transfer the investigation to NIA, as local police are also victims of the incident, the bench directed the State to file objections in relation to compliance of Section 6 (I)(ii) of the NIA Act. As per this provision, if the UAPA is invoked, the State should submit a report to the Centre which, in turn, will take a decision to entrust the probe to an external agency.